Here’s how customers use online reviews to make buying decisions

Summary:

  • Your star rating is most important
  • Next in importance is your review content
  • Finally, ensure that your address and contact info are correct on all your listings

In the past, the path a consumer took from discovery to purchase was pretty hazy. It would start with a need—say, for a local barber—and then possibly include a Yellow Pages search, some word-of-mouth recommendations, and maybe a little window shopping.

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Today, that flow has moved completely online. When people want to spend money locally, they pull out their smartphone, do a “near me” search, and then research the businesses produced by that search.

At some point, this digital flow leads the consumer to business listings on a review site like Google, Yelp, or TripAdvisor. It’s important to understand how potential customers read and interpret that information, so let’s walk through it using a business that shows up in a search for restaurants near Womply’s office in Lehi, Utah.

Note: The numbers in the image correspond to the list below.

When Yelp pulls up your listing and online reviews, a potential customer will evaluate your business in this order:

  1. Your star rating: Do you have at least 4 stars? Do you have lots of reviews? Most consumers will move on to other options if they can’t answer “yes” to these two critical questions.
  2. Your reviews: A potential customer will scan 7-10 reviews, on average, to see what your customers are saying before they form an opinion. They’ll look at the review content and the date, as most consumers consider reviews older that 90 days to be irrelevant.
  3. Your business information: If you pass the first two tests, a potential customer will look to see if your hours of operation and pricing are in line with their needs. You’re getting closer to turning a prospect into a paying customer!
  4. Your address and contact information: At this point, the buying decision is all but made. Make sure your address, website, and phone number are accurate. Don’t make it hard for customers to give you their money.

Go deeper: Check out our 7-minute read on 4 steps to take control of your online business reputation.

Don’t make it hard for customers to give you their money.

Take action: Businesses that use Womply see a half-star increase in their star rating, on average! Request a free demo of our small business software solutions by completing the form below.

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